Drone Insurance UK | Liability Insurance Through Flying Club Or 3rd Party?
Drone insurance can be a minefield! Do you need it? In short, no. But we highly recommend that you get it, flying a drone is a dangerous pastime. You are open to a lot of factors causing accidents and the more confidence you gain, the higher and further away you will be flying. Lets say for example you are just flying at the local park and you lose control and the drone ends up crashing into a car in the car park. You are liable for that damage to the car, as well as obviously the damage to your drone.
You can get covered for these kinds of accidents with specialist public liability insurance; your existing insurance policies will not cover drone usage. Although, it is always worth checking this as some companies will add it on very cheaply.
In terms of cost, drone insurance is actually very affordable, you can get it for as cheap as a pound a month. Even if you only fly a few times a year, it is worth having that piece of mind for a few pounds a flight.
UK Flying Clubs
is a not for profit association of hobbyist radio control model aircraft (or “drone”) pilots. They work closely with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)
and offer £5m public liability insurance for flying in the UK and Europe. You can find out more about becoming a member here – http://www.fpvuk.org/become-a-member/
. The membership year is split into 4 and pro-rated:
12 months = £15.80
9 months = £11.85
6 months = £7.95
3 months = £4.05
BMFA (British Model Flying Association)
Another option is to join the BMFA as a county member, the yearly subscription amount for recreational flying is slightly more than FPV UK, but you get a higher level of liability cover. Members can claim up to 25 million pounds in claims and you are covered worldwide.
If you are training for a commercial licence you need a Data, Development & Demonstration insurance, that costs an additional £75. That is on top of the membership fee, so that will be £108 in total (£9 a month).
You can see the insurance guidelines here –
Membership prices are paid per year and prices are as follows –
Senior – £33
Junior – £17
Family Senior – £33
Family Partner – £22
Family Junior – £13
Both clubs will cover you for personal flying outside of club meetings so long as your drone meets the weight requirements (usually under 7kg). First Person View (FPV) flying is also covered by both clubs. You do not need to hold any flying qualifications, but you do need to fly within stated safety guidelines.
Cover for personal damage
As good as the flying club insurance is, it will only give you 3rd party cover. So if you smash your brand new drone and camera into a building, then only the building will be covered and you will be liable to pay to replace your own equipment. Many insurance companies now offer specific policies for flying drones and model aircraft. These policies offer different levels of cover where you can get your own kit insured as well as having liability cover for damage caused. This type of policy will only have an excess, so for example if you claim, you may have to pay the first £200, just make sure that this is worth it to cover the cost of your equipment.
3rd Party Insurance Companies
There are many companies around that will offer drone insurance, just be sure to stick to reputable companies. There is no reason that you can’t register with a flying club and also try and get your equipment covered under a specialised contents policy.
Insurance through manufacturers
Drone manufacturers are also introducing services to cover drones, gimbals and cameras for an annual fee like DJI Care. The advantage of this kind of service is that you will have your drone back up in the air much faster. Insurance companies can take a long time to process claims and will offer a payout rather than new equipment. This means you may end up having to wait a long time to get a new drone, camera or gimbal if there are shipping delays or high order volumes. Although the manufacturer insurance plans can initially be more expensive, they are much more simplified and you can get replacements out in very little time and often there is no excess to pay. Remember, these types of insurance will only cover your drone and are not a replacement for indemnity insurance covering 3rd party damage.
Claiming on your policy
For your insurance to be valid you always need to make sure to be flying in accordance with CAA rules, you can read more about drone safety here. Whichever cover you decide to go with, just be sure to talk to somebody on the phone with any specific questions you may have to make sure you will be fully covered in the way you require.
Laws around drones are changing all the time and are different in each country. We will cover flying in other countries and getting insured in later posts. In the meantime, just make sure you are covered and fly safe.